2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Review

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Edmunds Summary Review of the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen S

  • With its versatility, cargo capacity and available diesel engine, the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is in a class of its own and makes a great alternative to SUVs and crossovers.

  • Pros

    Cavernous cargo space; very good fuel economy with TDI model; upscale cabin; comfortable seats, refined ride.

  • Cons

    TDI's premium price; sluggish acceleration response at low speeds on automatic-equipped 2.5 models.

  • What's New for 2014

    The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is unchanged.


The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen occupies a unique space in the marketplace: it's the only non-luxury-branded European station wagon that's exported to the United States. With high-end interior touches, refined driving characteristics and a high-mileage diesel engine option, the Jetta Sportwagen is an excellent stand-in for the small crossovers and SUVs that you might otherwise consider in this price range.

Since it's actually a wagon version of the current-generation VW Golf rather than a direct relative of the Jetta sedan, the Jetta Sportwagen looks and feels like Volkswagen's hatchbacks on the inside. Its interior materials are noticeably higher in quality than those of the current Jetta sedan, and it has friendly touches like a height-adjustable center armrest and rear seat air vents. It also has a large cargo area and, with the rear seats folded, as much or more capacity as most compact crossovers.

Another key benefit to Jetta Sportwagen ownership is the driving experience itself. VW's wagon handles more securely than any crossover SUV you'll likely cross shop, and it has a truly refined ride quality that makes road trips a pleasure. Acceleration is acceptable with either of the two available engines, though our choice would be the turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine. Known as the TDI, it returns outstanding fuel economy: The EPA rates it 34 mpg in combined driving and 42 mpg for pure highway travel.

Small-to-medium-size wagons like the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen are a rarity these days. As an alternative, though, you might consider the redesigned 2014 Mazda 3 four-door hatchback. It doesn't have as much cargo capacity as the VW, but it, too, gets great mpg and handles exceptionally well around turns. If you want more space, vehicles like the Honda CR-V and 2014 Subaru Outback are worth a look, though they don't come close to the Sportwagen's mileage. If fuel economy is top priority, the Ford C-Max and Toyota Prius V are two solid options, but neither is as enjoyable to drive.

Ultimately, there's really nothing else quite like the 2014 VW Jetta Sportwagen available right now. From its spacious, well-trimmed interior to its smooth, controlled ride, this wagon really is in a class by itself.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen is a five-passenger wagon offered in S, SE and TDI trim levels. (The Jetta sedan, Jetta GLI and Jetta Hybrid are reviewed separately.)

The entry-level S model comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, remote keyless entry, heated mirrors, heated windshield-washer nozzles, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, heated front seats with a power-adjustable backrest, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, an adjustable front armrest, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat with center pass-through, a trip computer, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The SE and TDI add 16-inch alloy wheels, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, upgraded gauges and a 10-speaker audio system with a touchscreen interface, satellite radio, HD radio and an iPod interface. Also included on the TDI (and unavailable on other trim levels) are a rearview camera and a 115-volt power outlet.

Both the SE and TDI can be equipped with an optional panoramic sunroof and 17-inch alloy wheel package. Jetta Sportwagen TDI buyers can also add a navigation system and keyless ignition/entry to this package.

Powertrains and Performance

The front-wheel-drive VW Jetta Sportwagen S and SE are powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the S, while a six-speed automatic is optional on the S and standard on the SE. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg combined (23 mpg city/33 mpg highway) with the manual transmission and 26 mpg combined (23 mpg city/30 mpg highway) with the automatic.

The Sportwagen TDI is powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder engine good for 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automated manual transmission known as DSG is available as an option. The latter features a Sport mode that quickens shifts and performance.

Fuel economy on diesel Jetta Sportwagens is an impressive 34 mpg combined (30 mpg city/42 mpg highway) with the manual transmission and 33 mpg combined (29 mpg city/39 mpg highway) with the automatic. In Edmunds performance testing, a Jetta Sportwagen TDI with the DSG transmission went from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds.


The 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side-impact airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is standard on TDI models.

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Sportwagen received the top score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap, side-impact and roof-strength tests. Standard on the TDI trim level is a rearview camera that is unavailable with the S and SE trim levels.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Sportwagen TDI with 16-inch wheels came to a stop from 60 mph in 132 feet, which is longer than average for this class of vehicle.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the 2014 Jetta Sportwagen offers top-quality interior materials, plenty of soft-touch surfaces and friendly little details like an adjustable center console armrest and rear seat air vents that make the car feel a cut above other small hatchbacks and crossovers. The premium-vinyl "leatherette" upholstery in SE and TDI models looks and feels like real leather.

Apart from its premium feel, the Sportwagen offers voluminous passenger and cargo room, especially for front seat passengers. Rear seat passengers have a tighter squeeze, but only taller adults will find it objectionable. In addition, the Jetta wagon provides nearly 33 cubic feet of space with its rear seats up and a useful 67 cubes with the rear seats folded.

The cabin also gets high marks for its straightforward control layout. We especially like the clean, uncluttered optional touchscreen audio interface. The optional navigation system is also pretty easy to use, but loses points for functionality due to its small 5-inch screen.

Driving Impressions

You won't mistake the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen for a full-on sport wagon à la BMW's 3 Series wagon. Although the VW's steering is precise and predictable, the Sportwagen's suspension is a little too soft for max-attack driving on back roads. But that's OK; you don't buy the Sportwagen to go fast. Instead, you buy this Jetta wagon for its comfortable, controlled ride and relatively quiet interior.

The base 2.5-liter engine isn't the smoothest nor richest-sounding in its class, but it has enough power for normal driving, even if you tend to load up the cargo bay with lots of gear. One issue you might notice on 2.5 models equipped with the automatic transmission is a slight delay between pressing the gas pedal and getting the desired acceleration response from the car. Most owners get used to this behavior, but if it really bothers you, there's always the manual transmission (though it's offered only on base S versions).

Your other alternative is the diesel-powered TDI model, which offers impressive fuel economy and range -- 500 miles on a single tank isn't uncommon. The diesel engine generates a little more noise and vibration than the 2.5-liter engine, but we still think it's the better choice thanks to its snappier acceleration (both around town and when climbing mountain passes) and outstanding fuel economy.

Reviews from owners of the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen S

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Problematic car

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Our 5 speed manual sportwagen as 36,000 miles on it and is 3 years old. In that time, the transmission has needed to be replaced and one front bearing (which should not fail in 36000 miles). Comparing the driver side seat to the passenger, the driver side seat has broken down already and is no longer firm. The transmission can be difficult to shift into reverse, although it does always go. There is a vibration that starts subtly around 55 mph but is definite by 70. We have replaced all tires, including realignment and balancing, and the vibration is still there. They have never been able to address the vibration. The car does its job. The layout of the controls, the handling, and the usability of the cargo space are good and follow the traditional VW approach, but compared to our previous VW, my sense is that they have cheapened everything and the car wasn't really ready for prime time, but was shoved out the door onto the market anyway. I like to drive cars until they aren't worth fixing anymore, between 150k and over 200k so far. If the car makes it that far, I will be happy with it, but right now it doesn't feel like that will be the case, which is why several areas were given low ratings. On the highway in MD and VA, I can get 37 mpg on 87 (R+M)/2 gasoline.

Testing edge case

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen


6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Capable, smart and economical... a winning combo!

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

I bought this car after owning an Audi TT 3.2 6m/t which I loved but it was getting expensive to maintain and fuel up and I needed a family car. An SUV or cross-over were out of the question because I simply despise them and they drive like bricks on wheels. I was not prepared to spend over $30,000 for a new car and it had to be a daily driver with very good fuel economy. Since I will never buy an American car (GM, Ford or Chrysler) or one with an automatic transmission or CVT, a hybrid was out of the question. I had rented a 2012 Jetta Sportwagen 2.5L during a business trip to Seattle and I remembered liking the spacious interior, massive cargo volume (I had to carry 3 coworkers and their bags) , easy and ergonomical controls and above average handling (despite the fact that I had to rent one with an automatic transmission). My 2014 JSW TDI has gone on a road trip from Florida to Pennsylvania and Maryland in October of 2014. I bought the VW roof rack which I installed myself due to extreme ease of installation. The car performed admirably and road noise, even with a loaded roof rack, was not extreme. When I bought the car, I did a cost benefit analysis of the 2.0 TDI vs. the 2.5L and it did not make sense to lease the TDI over a 36 or 48 month period due to the price of diesel (the premium of the diesel engine would not pay for itself based on fuel economy until the fifth year) in 2014. With the recent plunge of fuel prices, I can pay less than $30 at the pump and drive for 2 weeks before my next fill-up. I regularly get more than 530 miles on a tank (14.5 gallons) of diesel in mixed city/highway driving. Admittedly, I am writing this review after the VW Dieselgate scandal. I did not buy this car because it was touted as a "Clean Diesel"; I bought it simply because the combination of fuel economy, vehicle performance/handling, cargo space, comfort and interior quality/ergonomics is the best I could find under $30,000. I work in an area where dumptrucks and 18 wheelers spew black smoke incessantly. Yes, I am disappointed that my resale value will undoubtedly drop but I am gambling that, with a robust compression ignition engine, I will drive this car until it dies and that will be more than 10 years from now (based on reading reviews on VW TDI forums of other drivers who report very long lives and high mileage on their VW TDI's. The steering is crisp and responsive and there is slight torque steer evident. It is very easy to park the car and the rear view camera is a handy assistant (even though the car is by no means oversized). I have noted a glitch that sometimes I shift into reverse and get a warning on the screen that the camera is unavailable (shifting into neutral and then back into reverse always recovers the camera functionality). The transmission is easy to shift up and down and the clutch is on the lighter side though "catches" relatively deep. This does not bother me even in city driving as I am used to stiffer clutches though I can see how some drivers could be annoyed in repeated bumper-to-bumper traffic. Living in Florida, I am not overly concerned about needing winterized diesel or the inherent difficulty in starting a compression ignition engine in colder temperatures, but it is comforting to know that I have not had any issues with the glow-plugs in the first 2 years. The service intervals call for oil changes every 10,000 miles. Only after buying the car did I realize that it is considered by some to be a "cult" car in the sense that there's a very close-knit community of owners who simply love their JSW's akin to Subaru WRX or Mitsubishi Lancer EVO owners. I do love that you don't see too many JSWs around and I believe I have one of the few JSW TDIs with a manual transmission in Miami (all the ones I have seen have the tiptronic or DSG). A diesel powered station wagon with a manual transmission is a touring car that few people in the U.S. can appreciate more than a CUV or SUV but Europeans certainly understand the wagon's appeal. I am very pleased with this car and would definitely buy a 2017+ Golf Sportwagen TDI whenever VW is able to bring their 4 cylinder diesel engine back to the U.S. market!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Nothing lagging in my vw sportswagon

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

I bought mine used from a dealer with 14,500 miles. The original owner lived in Elko, NV and took very, very good care of the car. It looks, acts and drives like a new Sportswagon. Contrary to the reviews I've read noted herein the drivers seat is extremely comfortable along with the front passenger seat. Not sure about the back seats because I never sit on them. The car is nosier than my 745iL but the bonus is the smooth engine, smooth shifting, and super high fuel mileage. Further, the cargo space is more than adequate for my needs, and the cabin interior material is in accordance with the price of the car. Additionally, the cost was $ 12,000.00 less than a new Golf Sportswagon which has replaced the Jetta Sportswagon in 2016. Thanks for reading, Dennis B.....

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Tdi sportwagon - a really good buy

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

Now done 21,000 miles of mixed open road and LA rush-hour traffic, this has been more fun to drive than I could ever have expected. Free dealer services at 10 and 20k, I decided to have additional oil changes at 5k intervals. The high torque makes top gear acceleration fun. People complain of sluggish 1st gear starts - like pulling away from a light or making a left turn across traffic. This can be partly avoided by switching briefly to S-mode, which completely changes the character of the car, but takes its toll in fuel consumption. Mixed driving gives me an overall 39 mpg: some days commuting across LA from the San Fernando Valley to Venice I get 53 mpg.

Roomy plus good mileage too

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Vehicle: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen

We looked for the a SportWagen TDI for a while. We usually buy a 1 or 2 year old car to avoid the initial hit from driving it off the lot. There just aren't many of those out there, and those that were out there were almost as much as new. These cars tend to last, and their owners hold on to them. So we bought new.

Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen in VA is:

$55.42 per month*

Talk About The 2014 Jetta SportWagen

2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen Discussions See all Started By

Welcome to the Edmunds discussion dedicated to 2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen leasing questions....

TDI, and had lots of headroom. I also sat in a Jetta Sportwagen, also lots of headroom. Neither of which had a sunroof, naturally....

My 2014 Jetta Sportwagen TDI has both gas stations & diesel stations on the GPS but I learned to NOT trust it. Having the diesel engine, I selected "diesel" and on 4 separate occasions i...

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